World Christian body calls churches to be peacemakers in Africa
an article by Christian Today - Australia (excerpts)
Amidst increasing security issues in several African countries plagued by violence, political turmoil, religious intolerance and lack of democratic governance, churches are called to engage in peace-building, said African church leaders in a presentation on “Burning issues of insecurity in Africa” at a World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation in Kigali, Rwanda. The consultation was organized by the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). Participants addressed the theme, “Peace and Security in Africa: Ecumenical Responses” from 28 January to 1 February.
From left to right: Dr Agnes Abuom, Rev. Suzanne Matale, Rev. Ibrahim Wushishi Yusuf and Joy Kwaje at the WCC consultation on “Peace and Security in Africa” in Kigali, Rwanda. (WCC)
click on photo to enlarge
The church leaders presented case studies from Africa demonstrating the increase in conflicts and human rights violations in countries like Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe . . .
“Millions of Somalis continue to suffer. Helping them is increasingly difficult due to escalation of violence and polarization of both Somali and international actors,” said Dr Agnes Abuom, member of the WCC Executive Committee from Kenya and ecumenical accompanier of AACC’s special mission for peace-building in the Horn of Africa. "A group of ecumenical actors with a long history of engagement in peace-building have come together under the AACC to search new ways out of the predicament posed by the current situation in Somalia,” said Abuom.
Rev. Ibrahim Wushishi Yusuf, general secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria, expressed concern over the security situation in his country. “The security of the people of Nigeria has never been so dangerous, and stretched to a limit of extreme anxiety, as we are experiencing right now,” he said.
“The armed forces were considered points of safety for the citizens in our country at the time of violence and crises. But today even the military barracks are under attack from extremist forces and bandits, increasing violence and insecurity in Nigeria,” Yusuf added.
Joy Kwaje, member of the Senate of the South Sudan, thanked African churches and the global ecumenical movement for accompanying the people of Sudan, while she shared her perspective on security challenges . . .
“Tens of thousands of Southerners who were born and brought up in South Sudan but forced to live outside the country for years are now returning to a new country, which they know nothing about,” said Kwaje. “The safety and security of all these people need to be ensured. In this, the international community should continue to play a vital role for peace-building,” she added.
Itayi Ndudzo, member of the WCC Central Committee from Zimbabwe, talked about his country’s security situation. He described it as “relatively calm” now; however, a political crisis following the general elections, he says, can be expected. “Zimbabwe needs political will and respect for human rights to address the pressing concerns of people to reduce organized violence and torture,” said Ndudzo.
“Churches and the ecumenical community should help Zimbabwe foster a culture of peace and nonviolence, tolerance and respect for human rights,” he added.
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This report was posted on February 11, 2012.
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